Q: What is consider a witness list to provide to the court to get sole custody?
A witness list is an identification of the witnesses you plan to call at trial. I am sure that the court also required you to submit a pre-marking schedule of documents you plan to you on your case starting with a complete listing of each document. As part of the pre-marking requirement, I am sure that the court also required an exchange of your respective lists with the other side in advance and for trial purposes, you are required to provide a complete set of your pre-marked documents to the other side, to the judge, for the witness and for yourself to use (4 complete sets). Presumably, if you fail to provide a document in your pre-marking package / list, then the other side / court may prevent you from attempting to use it at trial.
You were also presumably told that you need to provide a brief in advance of the start of trial and at the conclusion of trial, the submission of a proposed form of findings of facts and conclusions of law to be drawn from the testimony presented ( must be based on the specific testimony presented and not what you wish the testimony was).
You will also be expected to know the current rules of court and rules of evidence since the court cannot allow you to conduct the proceeding informally or contrary to the court rules (since the judge will be required to make rulings during the trial as to admissibility, hearsay, etc ).
Even though you are planning to represent yourself, it may make sense for you to pay an experienced family law trial attorney to review your submissions and brief to ensure that you have done so correctly and / or pay to have him revise your submissions and give you guidance on how to present your testimony.
My sense is that you may spend 10 + hours with the lawyer preparing but it is probably more cost effective than simply telling the court that you did not know how to prepare your submissions and have the court deny you the ability to present testimony or documents because you failed to follow the procedures, he put in place for trial purposes.
I have seen too many bad matters where people tried to handle this type of matter on their own and screw it up and then want to blame it on the judge and for appellate review purposes, have the appellate division deny the relief sought pointing out item by item presented improperly.
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